House of Lords “Reform:” Traditional Britain Speaks out

The Traditional Britain Group strongly condemns the government’s planned “reforms” of the House of Lords. These plans are a betrayal of Britain’s history, heritage and constitutional traditions, and any party worthy of the name ‘Conservative’ would not even consider supporting them.

The House of Lords has served Britain well for centuries. With its origins in Saxon England and the Norman inheritance, pre-Union Scotland & Ireland, it was present throughout the greatest upheavals in English history, and its Peers were instrumental in building and administering the largest empire the world has ever seen. We owe the Lords a lot and should show due respect to this essential part of our constitution.

New Labour’s expulsion of our ancient aristocracy from the upper chamber was nothing more than shameless Class Warfare and did nothing to improve the quality and competence of the Lords. Indeed the corruption already shows that they actually debased The House. Now the ‘Liberal’ Coalition wants to effectively abolish a millennium of tradition and create a Senate’ full of career politicians who are elected for 15-year terms on full salaries. How could anyone call this an improvement? It will cost a fortune. We don’t require two elected chambers.

We call on the government to abandon these foolish, disastrous reforms and instead to announce that Blair’s “reforms” have been a failure and that they propose to repeal his distastrous Bill. The House of Lords were still performing a thoroughly useful role in revising bad legislation right up until the outrageous expulsion of the hereditary peerage. The system wasn’t broken and didn’t need fixing, so now is the time to eschew further vandalism and restore our constitution to its former glory.

7 responses to “House of Lords “Reform:” Traditional Britain Speaks out

  1. The best we can say about the old Lords was that it was better than the Commons. But that is like saying somebody is more charming than Gordon Brown. Faint praise indeed.

    It has ancient roots, but those roots are feudal, and we no longer live in a feudal society, in which the majority of the populace are bonded to a Lord. There is no constitutional justification any more for a special place for “lords”. But then neither is there any justificaiton for the pretense that the Parliament is an advisory body to a monarch’s power, that the effective president of a republic-with-a-figurehead is just “first lord of the treasury”, or for any of the other antiquated paraphernalia of a system which is now entirely discredited. Rome went from sorta-representative republic to dictatorship to oriental despotism over several centuries; England has moved from fedual monarchy to reasonably functional imperial oligarchy to dictatorship-by-committee in less than four.

    One constitutional reform would be to replace the “Lords” with a house appointed by lottery; half of it each year. Remuneration should be generous, since nobody can make a career of being there. It would offer a broad cross-section of the electorate, and should have the power of absolute veto of any rubbish the Commons throws at it. It might be objected that such randomly appointed commoners would be ignorant, stupid, lazy or mad, and this is true, but the proportions would certainly be lower than in the Commons.

    Alternatively, something involving gunpowder.

    • I agree. The ancient constitution has been destroyed. I hoped its forms would last a little longer than they did. But, if I could never myself have destroyed them, I see no reason for trying to bring them back. Any constitutional reconstruction must begin with such safeguards on power as may presently be found convenient. I agree with Ian B that some kind of jury system would be helpful – though we do need to think of institutions that would have immediate popular legitimacy. I think of the various constitutions that failed in France between the destruction of the ancien regime and the Buonoparte coup.

  2. Even if it were desirable to return to the old Lords we couldn’t. So much damage has been do it under nu-labour any idea of it as being a check against excessive and damaging government has long since disappeared.
    I would be in favour of an elected chamber provided certain conditions were met. Candidates must be born here and have roots back for at least three generations. Equal weight should be given to commerce and industry; the church; public sector;the armed forces. Also, candidates should be at least forty years old.
    Actually, this sounds like a good idea for a representative democracy.
    Perhaps we should have one of those too.

  3. Pingback: House of Lords “reform”…and some sound suggestions following yesterday’s post | The Libertarian Alliance: BLOG

  4. John Warren

    I think much of what has been written in response has merit – especially Ian B’s last sentence. Surely the Palace of Westminster is itself no longer a suitable place for arriving at sensible conclusions? It does seem to have a particularly bad effect upon good old fashioned common sense. Maybe it’s to do with gas levels. I hear that stone does of itself give off a mixture of gases. Maybe the local water’s bad… or the dpc.

    Patricia’s idea could be well worth a shot but only if a tall replacement building was erected somewhere near Milton Keynes. On a hill perhaps, in a large field. Fresh air with good views could be enjoyed allowing members’ minds to expand and worldly issues of every persuasion seen more clearly. Of further advantage, the M1 would be close at hand making luncheon and dinner trips into the West End impossible. To save yet more cash, as previously, no television cameras allowed – jewels, posh frocks and fine suits… all left hanging. (a whole new topic right there)

    I like Ian B’s idea. You rig it fella and I’ll plunge the hickory.

  5. Oliver Cromwell's Chamber Pot

    A hearty and unambiguous “AMEN!” to this superb and totally correct article, the wrecking ball that Labour took to the once-great upper chamber has both denigrated and demeaned the British body politic.

    The hereditary system worked remarkably well, was separate and distinct from the Commons, and the two-year delaying powers the 1911 Parliament Act imposed on them (whatever you think of that act) kept the democratic balance in favour of the elected house whilst being able to put a brake on potentially bad and/or recklessly impulsive legislation.

    If the so-called ‘Conservatives’ had a collective spine, they would (once back in a majority) repeal all Lords-related reform legislation back to – but not including – the aforementioned 1911 Parliament Act, restoring the hereditary system, ridding us of the rampant cronyism of the Life Peerages, and then set about drafting and ratifying a written U.K. Constitution that codifies all aspects of the British Constitution so any future liberal or progressive governments can’t wreck it for political reasons.

    Here endeth the lesson…